In her first novel In Exile the author Alexandra Turney throws you into the Eternal city. The city itself is completely overlooked, which I actually rather enjoyed. However, it find the fact that the story seems so timeless quite symbolic because of its setting. The book itself is divided into three parts which are separated very logically. Each of the parts represents the emotions that mainly the protagonist Grace, but also her friends Caroline and Sara are experiencing towards the god Dionysus.
On the very first page we are introduced to Dionysus who wakes up in modern Rome. He is instantly confronted with the fact that not a single soul worships him still. At the same moment, in the same city, a girl is bored to death. Her name is Grace. She is angsty, melodramatic, has questionable taste in (girl)friends and is longing for an adventure she will not forget. Little does she know that on an innocent walk she will encounter a stranger who will fill her with fear and love she has never felt before.
I have many opinions on this book, and also many emotions. At first the book was quite fast paced, then in the second part it slowed down tremendously. I hoped it would become a bit faster paced, which it did in the third part. I love the faster paced parts better. I simply felt as if at moments the author simply didn’t know how to fill the in-betweens and connect the main plot points. She didn’t do a bad job, far from that, it was simply noticeable to me.
The characters. Hmm. I longed to love them. Especially Caroline and Dionysus. Simply because those two seems like they had that unique dark potential I enjoy so much. However, Dionysus seem a bit flat most of the time. There were moments when we were given a glimpse into his thoughts, but they were short and simply not enough for me to connect with him. And Caroline was at the beginning simply unlikable, then I despised her, but when she became even more important to Grace that before I liked her a bit more. I simply feel like Caroline could have been given so much more depth and flesh. Sara was such an uninteresting character I know I will forget her quite soon.
I am not sure if all these things were ment to be this way, but they bugged me (except for the Sara part, I don’t really care about her).
In conclusion, this a fine book. It had a charming bit of greek mythology, which I always appreciate. When I started reading it I hadn’t heard it being compared to The Secret History by Donna Tartt, but I soon discovered it had the same vibe. I will not implicate that there is some sort of plagiarism here, because there isn’t! Simply, there are some similarities in the stories. The main reason I am mentioning this is because if you enjoyed The Secret History or any other dark academia novel then you will probably enjoy this one as well. Also, I just wanted to say that I really like the cover!
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.